30 September 2020, New York
The United Nations Summit on Biodiversity will be convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”
Our societies are intimately linked with and depend on biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential for people, including through its provision of nutritious food, clean water, medicines, and protection from extreme events. Biodiversity loss and the degradation of its contributions to people jeopardize progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human wellbeing. The evidence of these connections is clear.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature. We are reminded that when we destroy and degrade biodiversity, we undermine the web of life and increase the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people. Responses to the pandemic provide a unique opportunity for transformative change as a global community. An investment in the health of our planet is an investment in our own future.
The Summit will highlight the crisis facing humanity from the degradation of biodiversity and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development. It will provide an opportunity for Heads of State and Government and other leaders to raise ambition for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021. This framework, and its effective implementation, must put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 to meet the SDGs and realize the Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”.
As we approach the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020, progress towards global biodiversity targets including those of the SDGs has been insufficient. While there are many local examples of success, biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, with growing impacts on people and our planet.
More information at: https://www.un.org/pga/74/united-nations-summit-on-biodiversity/
This evidence-based report offers policy solutions to improve the quality of diets using a food systems approach through promoting availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability, and sustainably, healthy diets for all.
The aim and key added value of this report is to draw on the best available science and evidence to set out a practical way forward which is grounded in the realities of policy development in LMICs.
The advice and recommendations offered by the Global Panel are aimed primarily at decision makers in LMICs, but they alone cannot turn global challenges around. In a highly interconnected world, high-income countries also have a vital role to play, particularly where their own decisions have impacts on LMICs. High-income countries (HICs) not only share responsibility for some of the major problems facing us all but are also facing obesity and diet-related disease epidemics of their own.
This report shows that the underlying problems run deep. Our food systems are failing to produce the foods essential for healthy diets in sufficient quantity and at affordable prices. They are also driving degradation of the natural environment – soil, water and air quality, biodiversity loss and climate change – and dangerously undermining our future well-being. Since this report was commissioned in 2018, COVID-19 has highlighted just how fragile and precarious the world’s food systems have become. The situation is unsustainable.
Download the Executive Summary
29th September 2020 | 2PM CEST
The report: Future Food Systems: For people, our planet, and prosperity assesses the developing crises that relate to malnutrition, the dysfunctional relationship between food systems and the natural environment, and also the lack of resilience of food systems – highlighted most recently by the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on the latest science and evidence, the report identifies the systemic policy failures that are behind these interlinked crises and sets out the essential steps which need to be taken so that food systems can transition to become fit for the future. Importantly, the advice and recommendations are grounded in the realities of policy development-resource constraints, competing priorities and inevitable trade-offs – particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
The report makes an urgent call for action by the Global Panel to leaders and other decision-makers concerned with diets and nutrition, health, and the natural environment.
The launch will be of interest to both public and private sectors, donors, investors, researchers, international organisations and civil society. Join the event for a panel discussion on the report, and the priorities for action on making sustainable, healthy diets and nutrient-rich foods accessible, affordable and available to all.
The challenge of reducing food loss and waste during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc globally, generating significant challenges that could result in risks to food security and nutrition in many countries. Disruptions in supply chains resulting from blockages on transport routes, transport restrictions and quarantine measures are resulting in significant increases in food loss and waste, especially of perishable agricultural produce, such as fruits and vegetables, fish, meat and dairy products.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shortage of seasonal migrant farm labourers and transportation labours, who have faced difficulties in crossing borders. The closure of much of the hospitality industry and schools has also resulted in a loss of markets for producers, making the situation even more challenging. Dealing with the levels of food waste in the upstream segments of the supply chains of perishables, vegetables, and milk, in particular, has been particularly challenging.
At the downstream end of the supply chain, with panic buying and stockpiling by consumers, supermarkets, which are often key donors to food banks, struggle to keep their shelves stocked and are unable to donate food. Yet, much of the food purchased by households may never be consumed and could end up being discarded as food waste, because of a misunderstanding of date marking and improper storage of these household food items.
The food waste during COVID-19, is even more concerning, considering that food banks across the developed world are anticipating a significant increase in the demand, owing to an increase in the number of people affected financially due to the surge in unemployment. The food banks face a number of problems ranging from a lack of experienced staff, insufficient supply of food, and also locations that are no longer suited to distributing food packages, because of the physical distancing measures.
We need to be aware of the importance of the issue of food loss and waste now more than ever in order to promote and implement our global efforts towards resolving it. That is why, in 2019, the 74th United Nations General Assembly designated 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, recognizing the fundamental role that sustainable food production plays in promoting food security and nutrition. Doubtless, this new International Day faces a lot of challenges to achieve our goals of "Responsible consumption and production," which will contribute to the fight for Zero Hungerand against Climate Change.
More information available at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-food-waste-day
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